At their meeting September 8, trustees of the Blanco ISD heard comments from members of the community on the need for new tennis courts on the campus of Blanco High School. Blanco High student Brian Roche pointed out deficiencies in the 70’s era courts on which the teams now practice, including the inconvenient location far from the high school, cracks in the asphalt, and a slope on one of the courts. New courts “would allow us to practice during the season,” asserted Roche. Parent Ernie Carrola praised team members who recently participated in qualifying rounds in San Antonio for the state tournament. Reporting that four team members qualified, Carrola said, “We need to take the bull by the horns and go!” Both he and son Austin pointed out that athletes of both sexes who may be too small for other sports can excel in tennis. “Every kid should have a chance,” concluded Ernie Carrola. Austin added, “It will really benefit future generations—kids who are now in elementary school.” Parent Faith Ray called the tennis program “very diversifying for our district” and praised the district for “having the vision” to improve the program with new courts.
At a special board meeting held August 20, at which the 2008-09 budget was approved, trustees had voted to designate $800K from the fund balance for “capital improvements and contingencies.” The last financial audit showed $2.6 million in the fund balance. Trustee president Matt Herden reported that three firms have been consulted for preliminary estimates on the cost of installing tennis courts. Charles Riley reminded the trustees of the need for improvements to the baseball bleachers. After some discussion, trustees voted to approve soliciting bids for six lighted tennis courts, expanded seating on the home side of the Panther stadium, and improvements to the baseball bleachers.
In other business, trustees voted to adopt a tax rate of $1.09338 for 2008-09. Of that amount, $.99338 will fund maintenance and operations and $.1000 will fund debt service. The operations rate will generate $5,700,000 in revenue and the debt service rate of $.10000 will generate $630,493. The new rate will raise taxes on a $100,000 home by approximately $19.58. The district had to seek approval from the state for the new tax rate, based on the district’s Chapter 41 status.
Trustees also approved a change on the name of one authorized representative on the Texpool investment account to Dr. Buck Ford as the new superintendent and approved a resolution to sanction 4-H as an extracurricular activity. This change would allow the district to receive state funding when students are out of the classroom at a 4-H event.
The next step in executing an Energy Consumption Plan was approved by trustees, who voted to solicit requests for qualifications from energy service companies to assist in implementing the plan, required by TEA, with the goal of reducing annual electric consumption by five per cent each fiscal year for the next six years.
Finally, trustees approved a budget amendment to open the Accelerated Reading/Math budget for 2008-09, which provides intervention services at the elementary and middle schools.
In his report, superintendent Buck Ford congratulated MaryAnn Weaver for her selection as a member of the 2009 Texas Association of School Boards Leadership Class. He also thanked members of the Lion’s Club and Leo Club for their “Stuff the Bus” effort to gather school supplies for students whose families are unable to provide them. He gave special credit to Marilyn and Nan Mikes, who served as liaisons with the district. Two upcoming events were also highlighted by Ford—Safe Routes to School Day on October 8 and Heritage Days at Yett Park on September 26. Ford praised BHS principal Dustin Barton for his work with TxDOT in implementing safety precautions, including a crosswalk on Highway 1623, Type 3 barricades as required at Blanco Elementary, and the work of fifth grade teachers, who have obtained certification as crossing guards. Martha Gosnell chairs the Safe Routes to School program which sponsors the annual Safe Routes to School Day. Dr. Ford indicated that students may walk around the school to celebrate the day. As part of Heritage Days, social studies classes will be transported to Yett Park to view re-enactment activities and heritage crafts such as chuck wagon cooking and horse-shoeing.